Lake Oroville Operations Update - February 21, 2019


Aerial of Lake Oroville and main spillway  in January 2019.

Aerial view of the recently completed Lake Oroville main spillway in January 2019. DWR/2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. With recent storms increasing runoff into Lake Oroville, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is monitoring lake levels and taking steps to prepare in the event the newly reconstructed main spillway needs to be used. However, at this time DWR does not anticipate using the main spillway to manage lake levels and inflows in the immediate term.

Oroville’s elevation is currently 773 feet. At this elevation, the reservoir is a little over 40 feet below the entrance to the main spillway. The following scheduled steps are being taken, as construction activities are ongoing at the Oroville spillways:

  • Based on current 10-day projections, reservoir levels could reach an elevation of 780 – 785 feet by the end of the month. At elevation 780 feet, DWR and its construction contractor Kiewit will take steps to remove equipment from the main spillway. To prepare for rising lake levels, DWR will also plan to shut and seal the gates before the lake reaches an elevation of 805 feet.
  • Once water reaches the gates at 813 feet, the lowest elevation at which the spillways can be used, it will not necessarily be activated. Releases are based on available flood storage, environmental needs, and water deliveries.

If DWR needs to use the main spillway for flood control releases at any point during the season it will follow the 2018/2019 Lake Oroville Flood Operations Plan.

As of November 1, 2018, the Oroville main spillway is fully reconstructed and is capable of handling flood control releases. DWR is closely coordinating with our state and federal partners, including the National Weather Service, to monitor and stay aware of minute to minute forecast changes.

The recent precipitation and forecasted reservoir inflows mean Oroville is likely to reach average levels for this time of year.




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Erin Mellon, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources

(916) 651-2440 |